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Life Lessons: Saying goodbye to a toxic relationship

End of a young couple
End of a young couple

Dear Cheryl,

I am in a toxic relationship with someone that I love very much. I don’t know what to do. I keep trying to love him through all of the difficult times, thinking that something will change. The problem is that nothing ever changes. I have always been taught that it the Christian thing to do is to give and give, to sacrifice my own needs for the needs of another. But I am so unhappy. I feel so tired all of the time, and have little energy to keep this relationship going. Is it wrong of me to end it?

Sad in Charlotte

Dear Sad,

There are many responsibilities in this life. The biggest responsibility you have is to yourself. It is your responsibility to keep yourself healthy and happy. When you are healthy and happy, not only will you live the best life there is for yourself, you will have more to give to others.

Toxic relationships deplete you. They leave you completely drained, and can even cause sickness. Toxic relationships also have no chance of becoming healthy as long as one or both people are toxic. By staying in such a relationship, you are preventing the toxic person from truly realizing his need for help.

God created you in His image. He only wants the best for you. Yes, there are situations that involve sacrifice, and selfless giving. But when you are the only one giving, you will soon have nothing left to give. Sometimes, it is important to show a little tough love to someone as a means of affecting change. At that point, it is up to the toxic person to get help or stay stuck in toxicity.

You have no obligation to stay in such a relationship. Move on. You deserve better.

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